Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Derren Brown talk about his new book, Confessions of a Conjuror at the Cheltenham Littary Festival. He didn’t perform any magic, but instead talked about his book which in part is an autobiographical account of his time working as a professional close-up magician.
The Centaur in Cheltenham is a large venue and was packed with about 2,000 people. Derren offered funny, captivating and as usual, incredibly intelligent answers posed to him about his performances and his new book. While I’m only one chapter in, the book itself seems to be an honest, yet slightly cynical perspective of performing close-up magic for a living. It’s clear that the bustle of the close-up magic environment doesn’t allow magicians to really stretch themselves dramatically and getting out of that environment seemed to allow Derren to push himself into much more interesting directions.
As a professional close-up magician, it’s incredibly interesting to hear Derren’s perspective. Just before he became famous, he wrote a couple of books for magicians and one of them in particular details this kind of discomfort that he had being a close-up magician. Those books are now incredibly difficult to get hold of, but really offer a different perspective on being a close-up magician.
For now, I love performing close-up magic and don’t see myself changing direction. I’ve performed on stage and suchlike, but for me, the interaction and fun that I have with my audience in a close-up magic environment makes it the perfect type of performance for me.